Posted in 52 Poems, Poetry

52 Poems – Week 3 – A Journey

This should have been week 2, but I got these two weeks mixed up, it doesn’t matter. The prompt was to write about a journey. So I thought about a journey in search of happiness, I thought about looking for what is already inside oneself. I’ve spent a lifetime looking for love, acceptance, reassurance, all in the wrong places because I was looking for these things outside myself. So I wrote about going on a journey looking for what you already have. Does this make sense? I hope so.

photo of person walking on pathway near rocks
Photo by Gantas Vaičiulėnas on Pexels.com

Finding home

I set off on a journey, hunched

by a heavy baggage. The path

wasn’t smooth nor wide. Nor

was it certainly, without obstacles.

I trekked up and down hills,

mountains. Crossed over

bridges – short, long, straight,

winding, firm and wobbly. Often

I turned around, often

I stopped to rest, often

I looked back wishing

I had never left home.

I’d been on the road

far too long, longing for home.

But when I stopped looking back,

I learned that I had arrived already.

 

Posted in My Planet

Social Distancing – My Experience

Last night, the Prime Minister announced very strict rules on the nation’s lock down. According to The Guardian, it was one of the most watched TV moments in history, everyone was glued to the TV. It felt strange, we were all there in front of the TV and I was very nervous, it was almost like we were waiting to hear our life sentences; I don’t remember another time when I had that feeling.  I remember the uneasy feeling every time I spoke with the doctors when my mother was in hospital in intensive care, but this is a different feeling. I think it’s because this concerns the whole world, not just me or my family. It’s that feeling that we’re all in this together, I suppose.

We must stay at home. We can only go out to:

  • buy necessities like food and medicine and we should do it as less often as possible
  • go to and from work, but only when work cannot be done from home
  • do one form of exercise, e.g. walk, run, cycle
  • go for essential medical care or to care for someone vulnerable

We must not meet our friends nor anyone that does not live in our house and we must not visit each other in each other’s houses. Any social gatherings of more than 2 people are banned unless we live in the same house. All shops that don’t sell food or medicine are closed. To be honest, I knew this was coming from the moment Costa announced closure of their stores yesterday morning. Never before in history, measures like this have been taken.

I have to say that nothing is changing for me, I’ve been doing this since Monday last week. But unfortunately, not everyone understood the rules of social distancing and that’s why the lock down has to be enforced. Some people don’t understand that the sooner you stick to the rules of social distancing, the sooner this will be over. I have to admit that this sounds good to me. Staying at home, reading and writing, calling friends and have all the time I want to do what I want. I’ve wanted this for a long time. Not the pandemic bit, just the social isolation bit – not offence to any of my relations.

So far, a big chunk of my time has been dedicated to self-care. I am still establishing a routine, but I have exercised at home most days and have gone for a walk outside every day. I have been eating pretty healthily and have been drinking plenty of water, I’ve lost 800 grams since I’ve been social isolating – pretty amazing, I would say. I have also been moisturizing every time after the shower, which I don’t normally do because of time, but now, since time is not an issue, I make a point of doing. I also get dress every morning in going out clothes and change to lounging clothes in the evening. I think it gives a structure to the day and makes me feel more connected to the normality of life.

Last week, I made a list of things I want to do during this time. That keeps me focused. I have been doing a lot of journal writing for self reflection, but I am also working on a new poem right now. It’s a poem I started a while ago, but yesterday I went back to editing it and today I will give it another look. I’ve done a few online badges on the university website, but I’m looking for some online courses that I can do to keep my brain in gear and add to my skills. I’ve been speaking on the phone to friends every day to check up on each other and stay connected.

My biggest challenge is to stay away from social media and news updates. I confess I am quite obsessed with news updates, maybe because these are unprecedented times and, sometimes it does feel unreal, like this is not really happening. It’s like, I need to check often what it going on, in case someone comes up and say something like, ‘a cure has been found’ or even, ‘You’ve been fooled!’  Sadly, neither has happened yet and I doubt that it will. So, I must stop obsessing about the news and do something more productive or satisfying with my time. But, all in all I am happy with how I have been using my time – most of the time. Let me know what you’ve been doing with your social distance time, I’d love to hear other people’s experiences.

Posted in My Planet

How Do I Feel About Self-Isolation

So, after a long period of being absent from the world of WordPress, I decided to return. Better later then never. My last post dates September 2017, over two years ago – I can’t believe it.

Firstly, let me tell you the reasons for my absence:

  • I was very busy with studies, work and moving house.
  • I was struggling with mental health, grieving the loss of my mum and my dad’s illness.
  • I was questioning the route I wanted this blog to take.
  • Maybe, I also lost confidence in my writing.

It has been a long battle, I won’t lie. But, there have been a lot of wins. I managed to complete my degree and was accepted to the PGCE programme. This is a huge win as there were times when I didn’t think I would ever be able to finish my degree. Mostly, I felt overwhelmed by the amount of work and the complexity of student life, time management, work and family commitments, leisure, etc.

I have also managed to quit the job that was making me ill and bringing out the worst in me. It was really good for a period of time and I am truly grateful for that job, but it came a time when I had to let go and move on. Thankfully, we have managed without that income just fine. It just goes to show that when you’re brave enough to follow your dreams, the universe will provide for you – but that’s for another blog post.

My mental health has been up and down and I have been having counselling for a while now. It has helped immensely and I will also expand on that on a future post. I have also lost my dad just over a year ago and although it wasn’t unexpected, it was a shock and it has been hard to deal with. I ended up getting behind with the course work and  my transferred my PGCE to part-time study, therefore I am still a student.

I have been thinking on what route to take with this blog. When I started it, it was a mixture of everything, but I have been thinking that it might be better to separate the different sections. So in the future, this will be my personal blog and I might start a professional one for my teaching practice and maybe another for my creative writing. Depending on how things go, or how long I will be in isolation.

This brings me to the title of this post. So, I have been in self-isolation since Monday due to the Corona virus Covid-19. I am not infected, but because I am asthmatic and have high blood pressure, I decided to self-isolate to reduce the risk of infection and consequently putting extra pressure on the health services. Apparently, people with asthma should self-isolate for 12 weeks. Luckily, I am able to self-isolate without it affecting the income of my family or my contribution to the community; so I decided to do it and reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

How do I feel about it?

On Monday I felt very anxious and scared. I felt like the world as I know it was about to collapse and was overwhelmed with a sense of impotence and disbelief. This really feels like reality imitating fiction and I never thought I’d see anything like this in my lifetime. I confess that in the past, I had thought about something like this happening, but always shoved the thought somewhere in the back of my mind. Now this is really happening.

By Tuesday, I was feeling a bit more positive. Excited even. I thought, well I will have to stay at home for a while; how many times have I wished for it? Is this a case of ‘be careful what you wish for’ or what? So, I started feeling quite excited thinking about all the things I can do now that I didn’t have time for before. So far, I have been binge watching Netflix and Amazon Prime without any feelings of guilt. Why the hell not?

Today, after three days of not doing much other than watching TV and checking the news on Covid-19 situation, I decided to start a more productive strike. I make a list of all the things I want to do while at home:

  1. Bring my course work all up to date.
  2. Read more books
  3. Write more
  4. Reactivate this blog
  5. Start a new blog
  6. Exercise
  7. Deep clean the house and organise my office
  8. Do more things with my family in the house
  9. Do more crafts
  10. Study and learn more

Today, I feel very positive and excited about being able to do all these things and maybe more. But this is only day 4. Today, my husband has started working from home as well. It’s all very good and well so far – he just brought me a cup of tea and chocolates. How long before we want to kill each other, God knows. We had breakfast and lunch together, we went to walk the dog together mid morning, and the rest of the time I have been here in my office and he has been downstairs. We will just try and stay out of each other’s way as much as possible and hope for the best. I don’t know how long he will be working from home, it seems like this whole thing is only just starting; but I feel that this will be a really good opportunity to test our marriage.

 

Posted in My Planet

Why depression was the best thing that happened to me part II

This week I thought I’d develop the theme of why depression was the best thing that has happened to me. Because of the depression and anxiety, I had therapy for a long time during which I learned so much about myself, it was like I was reborn. However, I just want to make clear from the beginning of this post that this is not a linear process; I still have moments of struggle and days when I feel like a fraud and that everything I have to do requires the same amount of energy to launch a rocket into space. Lately though, most of the time I’m good.

My childhood was different from that of the other children I knew, including my siblings, as being the eldest more was required from me. My parents had a business and I had to help out from an early age, before school, after school and during the school holidays. So when most children were happy for school holidays, I always preferred the time spent in school, which for me was the equivalent to play time. My father always expected me to work in the business like an adult, he criticised every single action and every single mistake I made; nothing was ever good enough for him and he was never pleased with whatever I was doing. If all that wasn’t enough to make a little girl feel inadequate, he also loved to humiliate me in front of the customers and the other children that lived on our street and were always playing out. When I was growing up in the 70’s, my parents did things to me that make me cringe now that I had therapy and learned it wasn’t right, but all my life – although I didn’t feel good about it – I carried the weight of shame and guilt as if I could have changed things. For example one Summer my family went out for a day in Spain and I stayed at home alone because there was no room for me in the car, I was 10 years old. Can you imagine how a little 10-year-old girl would feel being left home alone waiting for her family to come back home? My parents, my brother, my sister, my auntie, my uncle and my cousin; they all went and I was left at home. What I remember most of that day was that I was at the window all day waiting for them to come back, it must have been one of the longest days of my life. I knew that I was the least worth person in the family because I was the one they left behind without a second thought, or apology, or any kind of bribe, there was no need I just had to accept the fact that there was no room for me. Today this would have been classed as child cruelty, I’m sure. Not only I worked for my parents business without any pay or recognition, I was also the least worth child in the family. This was one of many identical situations. In my parents’ mind, because I was the eldest I was almost classed as an adult, every issue between myself and any of my siblings was undeniably my fault for the simple fact that I was the eldest and therefore should know better. What they forgot was that I was only 18 months older than my brother, so also a child. My brother was good and it wasn’t his fault that he was the only one allowed to play out while I had to work or the one that got a bike while I never had one. I never got given toys for Christmas or birthdays, while the other girls exhibited their dolls on Christmas day, what I got was pajamas and chocolates from our cafe. I always felt in disadvantage and turned into an adult with an immense need for love and acceptance, but with very low standards, which lead me to very bad decisions – but I won’t go anymore into that for now.

What I want to focus now on this post is that due to the depression and anxiety, for the first time in my life I had to face all these ghosts from the past in therapy and learned that my parents were abusive towards me, not physically abusive but emotionally and mentally, which leaves long-term marks that we don’t see. I learned that it wasn’t my fault that my parents didn’t know how to love me and how to appreciate me or make me feel like a worthy human being. I love them, but I hated how they made me feel and that is ok. I learned that I did the best I could with what I had and there is nothing to be ashamed of. I did really well actually and I have raised three beautiful children who I always made sure to feel loved. After the depression, I learned my worth and I know that I deserve to be loved and respected and that allowed me to find the person that treats me the way I deserve, my lovely husband. All my relationships improved after the depression, but most importantly my relationship with myself had a massive boost. It’s still a work in progress, but everything changed for the better.

Posted in Poetry

Creative Portfolio (11)

Parrot on my Shoulder

 

Who do you think you’re fooling? Everyone

can see through you, you’re nothing but a fool,

not interesting, not funny. Nobody likes you!

But Sandra has invited me for coffee and

the team at work sent me flowers and

chocolates. My sister calls every day.

 

Everyone just looks at you with pity! They feel

sorry for you! You’re nothing but a burden, if you

disappear, everyone would be so much better off.

My children need me, they would miss me and

my mother likes to call and talk to me. You don’t

know the meaning of your words. You’re mean.

 

You haven’t got a clue what you’re doing. What

made you think you could be a mother? You

can’t even hold the love of a good man.

One of these days I will shut you up. The nasty

things you say to me are empty advice, not my inner

voice. I have raised three beautiful children.

 

Your father was right! You’re a disgrace, not even

‘worth the water, you drink’… a waste of space.

Where are your accomplishments? Can’t you see it?

I am starting to ignore you, I promise! For too

long I listened, gave you too much credit.

Parrot, you’re stuffed, a work of taxidermy.

Posted in Poetry

Creative Portfolio (10)

How do I explain?

 

I don’t know what you want to know. You ask

if I’m better like I broke a leg and I’m walking

with crutches. It doesn’t work like that. Today

 

I feel tired, but yesterday I was over the moon.

I don’t know why I feel this way. God knows

what it’ll be like tomorrow. I can only hope it won’t

 

be dreadful. This isn’t like healing a broken bone

or a runny nose, you know? The best analogy I

can give you, is the British weather. If moods

 

were weathers… I can experience all four in the

same day, or the space of a week. I can only

hope that the British wintry days become rarer

 

and the exotic tropical island days become

the norm. I don’t know what it is to be

better and wish people stopped asking.

Posted in My Planet

Why depression was the best thing that happened to me

In 2010 I was diagnosed with clinical depression and I thought my life was over. I lost track of time, stopped enjoying all the things I used to enjoy, lost interest in everything and the smallest event would cause me terrible anxiety. After months of struggle, I ended up losing my job, which eventually resulted in the loss of my house, making me and my three children homeless for eleven months during which we lived in a high-security hostel. So, why do I think that this was the best thing that has happened to me?

I lived all my life being scared, feeling wrong and inadequate, most of my actions were driven by either fear or seek for approval. I made so many mistakes, from trusting the wrong people to getting into debt and everything else in between that only added to my low self-esteem and lack of self-worth. I will leave the details of those for another post. What I want to focus on today is the benefits of therapy – it is fair to say that I owe my life to CBT. Through hours of therapy, I learned to make peace with my past and consequently, I started being kinder to myself. My most valuable lessons were:

  • It’s ok not to be ok.
  • I deserve to be loved for just being me.
  • I can love my parents and still hate some of the things they did to me.
  • I am a good mother.
  • I didn’t deserve the horrible things that were done to me.
  • I am not a failure.
  • Self-love is not selfishness.
  • I’m only responsible for my actions.
  • Grieving is a process.
  • Guilt is bad and serves no purpose.
  • I am not responsible for other people’s happiness.
  • I cannot change the past.
  • The past cannot hurt me.
  • The future doesn’t matter.
  • The power is in the now.

As a result of all these lessons, I became more self-confident and my self-esteem improved massively. I became aware of my self-worth and I am not afraid of asking for what I believe I deserve. When I think about my past mistakes and bad choices, I accept responsibility without judgment; I am now more accepting of myself and of others. Before the depression, I used to get terrible anxiety about how other people felt and wanted to fix everything. I used to live under a hard mask, but now I am just me. And although I am not always over the moon, that is ok. I know when I am not ok and when a low mood is approaching and how to act unless I haven’t the energy, which is also quite alright.

Posted in Poetry

Creative Portfolio (9)

Let go

 

There is nothing wrong with being average,

let go and enjoy the ride. Being passionate

is better than being perfect. Not every

aspect of a project needs to be ticked.

 

Relax and enjoy the ride while crossing

the bridge from perfection into action.

Average can be satisfying and get the

grades. Let go of perfection and have

 

the courage to break the wall built on fear

of failure. More gratifying than being idle

is getting out there – feel the fear and do it

anyway – you won’t regret it. Correct me

 

if I’m wrong, but this addiction to perfection

has taken you nowhere. Don’t neglect the

power of imperfection. There are lessons

to be learned with fun along the way.